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Purging & Packing for Your Rightsized Home


Image by Nicolas Hulk

In January, our Finding Your “Rightsized” Home article explored all the different types of communities and arrangements that are available to mature adults seeking a new rightsized home. From Assisting Living communities and Independent Living communities to age-restricted apartments, there are a number of options you can choose for your next home. Thoroughly researching these options is an important task, and choosing your perfect location is a definite reason to celebrate. But, you still have a large task ahead of you: packing for the move.

Rightsizing your life doesn’t just mean moving into a home that is better sized for your current lifestyle; it also means purging some of the items you’ve acquired over the past few decades that don’t have value or purpose to you anymore, or that you simply don’t have room for in your new home. As you begin packing for your move, you may find that deciding between what to keep and what to purge can be a more challenging process than you imagined. If you’ve lived in the same home for decades and have acquired a rather large collection of items, you may not even know how to begin. Our article this month will provide three useful tips to get started.

Begin the purge slow and steady: As you review what items you want to bring with you to your new home, it’s best to start in the room or area of your home that you use the least. It’ll be easier for you to part with items in that area, as opposed to items located in frequently-used rooms. Discarding these obviously unneeded and unwanted items can get your mind in the right place and help kickstart the purging process. If you have plenty of time before your move, dedicate a half hour to this activity each day, rather than trying to tackle a whole room in one day. The small windows of time you invest will add up and make the packing process much easier overall.

Allow yourself time to part with items: Going through your items one by one can often inspire unexpected trips down memory lane, as you recall special meanings and stories behind your many possessions. Even if you realize that you have no logical purpose to keep an item any longer, you may feel that it is too emotionally important to discard. To address this challenge, set aside a box and place into it the items that you are unsure about keeping or discarding. As the items sit for days and weeks leading up to your move, you may find yourself pulling a few items out here and there. Any items that you don’t feel the urge to remove after a significant amount of time can be confidently discarded.

Alternatively, consider taking tips from the New York Times best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which utilizes the KonMari Method for the purging process. This method has you ask yourself if an item in question “sparks joy.” If the answer is “no”—or, similarly, “not anymore”—you are encouraged to thank the object for its service as a way to allow yourself to let it go.

Have adult children take back storage items: Finally, if your adult children will be visiting you while you’re packing, try broaching the subject with them that your new rightsized home will not be a storage unit for the items they have left behind over the years. Ask them if they’d like to sort through their own items to take with them, or if those items can be donated or thrown away. Be firm on setting a timeline for your children as to when all their items must find a new home.

These three tips will help get you started on the purging and packing process, and take a little stress out of your move.

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